Project Light of Manatee, Inc.
1104 14th Street West
Bradenton FL 34205
Students working in the computer lab
Project Light is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to providing accessible adult English language and literacy instruction to empower students with the skills and tools they need to fully participate in, and contribute to, the community.
CEO/Executive Director Luz Corcuera
Board Chair Luz Corcuera
Board Chair Company Affiliation Healthy Start Manatee
History and Background
Organization DBA
Project Light Literacy Center of Manatee, Project Light
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Awarded a competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
Incorporation Year 1994
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $36,000.00
Projected Expenses $54,850.00
Additional Documents
IRS Letter of Determination
Project Light 501(c)(3)
State Info
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Mar 2015
State Registration Exempt 0

During 2013, Project Light provided English language instruction to close to 300 students through the efforts of 42 volunteer instructors.  

Project Light was able to make a long time dream a reality with the support of two private donors: paying off our mortgage loan! We will be hosting a special event in early 2014 to celebrate this accomplishment.  We can now continue to concentrate on providing high quality instruction to our students.

We are proud to have launched, on a small scale, a pilot computer lab project, thanks to support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Manatee Community Foundation, which will enhance language learning and provide computer skills development for students. In addition, thanks to the Sarasota Foundation, Project Light now also has a new copier, which is a critical tool for volunteers to be able to make copies of assignments and teaching aids.



Project Light is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to providing accessible adult English language and literacy instruction to empower students with the skills and tools they need to more fully participate in, and contribute to the community.

In 1995, Sister Nora Brick founded Project Light to assist English Language Learners in their quest to gain cultural competency and language skills. Founded on the principles of access, equality, dignity, and opportunity for all, Project Light continues to carry out its mission within the context of Sister Nora's vision of empowering students to more fully and meaningfully engage in our community's life and culture. 

Annually, we serve close to 500 students. Project Light’s student population is diverse, representing Mexico and Central and South America, the Caribbean and Haiti, and Eastern Europe, as well.

Project Light offers a unique method of service delivery that aims to meet the needs of all students who wish to access our language and literacy programs. We offer daily morning, "drop in" classes so that students with irregular schedules needn't wait to start or return to classes based on closed enrollment.
In addition, our outreach program, the Language House, offers a closed-enrollment, more structured class setting, divided into 12-week sections. This is offered on-site at Project Light, various Manatee County library locations and other community sites. 
Over the course of our history, Project Light has also offered summer programs for children focused on academic support/tutoring, as well as the arts. The Roots Summer Arts program has provided the opportunity for children - who might otherwise not have the chance - to experience music, dance, drama and the visual arts, in partnership with the Manatee Arts Alliance and Healthy Start Manatee. 

The best way to illustrate the results and impact that Project Light has in students’ lives is to use their own stories. A current student at Project Light was illiterate in her own language. She had never been to school in her own country. At Project Light, she has diligently studied English and can now read, write and speak her new language on a junior high level. Further, she has become a great advocate of the program and donates her time to supporting the center's operations. Most importantly, she is a role model for her peers and because of her English language skills, she now assists with teaching the basic beginning classes.


The major needs of Project Light are listed as follows:
1. Project Light would like to expand the scope of work for our part time, contracted Program Coordinator to make this a permanent, full time position and we would like to hire an executive level position. We will need funding to help support both positions.
2. There is a consistent need for volunteer instructors. Project Light is always working to attract and retain quality instructors as student demand often exceeds the supply of teachers.
3. We would like to expand our computer lab and associated classes (which have been implemented as a pilot), to take this program to scale, providing students with additional opportunities to gain computer literacy, as well as improve language capacity. Estimated costs to continue growing this program are approximately $7,000.  
4.  Project Light is always in need of text and work books for students and instructional books/materials for teachers; estimated costs per semester are $3,000.   
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Project Light is a unique, highly accessible language and literacy center offering a two-pronged approach to instruction. Our on-site morning and evening classes are "drop in" so that students who have one or more jobs, family obligations, and/or limited transportation can attend classes based on their needs and schedule, from day-to-day, week-to-week or month-to-month. this flexibility and fluidity works well for students. as well as volunteers who enjoy spontaneity in their classes.
In addition, our outreach program, The Language House, is a 12-week curriculum that builds up to three levels, offered at the Manatee County Library location and the Parrish YMCA, for students who need, and volunteers who prefer a more structured, sequential approach.
Project Light's programs are important community assets, providing easily accessible instruction at conveniently located sites, including at the center, which is on a major bus line, and local libraries, bringing services right into students' own neighborhoods.
Through Project Light's efforts to facilitate students' improved English and literacy skills, we aim to equip them with the tools to provide support and  stable environment for their families; expand their contact with society through informed engagement; and positively impact and contribute to the overall community.
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Given that Project Light is a small, all volunteer-operated organization, it has been able to successfully provide critically needed literacy and language education for over 18 years and I am very proud to be a part of the organization and ensuring its ability to continue carrying out its mission. While Project Light has continued to serve a consistently growing student base since its inception, the organization is now at a point in its development where long-term sustainability is the top priority.
As Board President, I am engaging the leadership in key activities to this end, concentrating on Board development and ensuring a strong, working Board membership that includes student representation. Another critical piece to our organizational longevity and success includes a rebranding process, which was achieved in the spring of 2012. Our next step will be development of a five year strategic plan. And last, but not least, I, along with the leadership team, am committed to working toward establishing a stable and solid financial footing for Project Light.
I am passionate about Project Light's work and have dedicated several years to serving on its Board because I feel strongly that giving the gift of literacy empowers individuals to change their lives and families to be self sufficient. It is tremendously rewarding to see the blossoming of our students as they learn to read, write, speak, and more fully integrate into society as they move forward, including obtaining better employment and/or pursuing further studies. I am inspired by Project Light's volunteers and enjoy working with others who care so deeply about making a difference in our students' lives. 
Areas Served
Areas Served
In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
FL- Manatee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Education
Secondary Org Type Community Improvement, Capacity Building
Tertiary Org Type Education
Description Project Light offers daily morning English language and literacy classes to adult English Language Learners (ELL), as well as evening classes twice a week, using a proven curriculum that empowers students to build upon their skills, as they progress through the various levels of course offerings.  The $40,000 budget for this program also includes all overheads associated with other Project Light programs.
Budget $40,000
Category Education, General/Other
Program linked to organizational strategy? Yes
Population Served Adults Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees
Short Term Success Students are continuously monitored for their English language proficiency level. Those exhibiting proficiency at their assigned level are routinely moved on into the next level to be further challenged.
Long Term Success Project Light has expanded its reach from 39 students per quarter in 1999 to nearly 80 students per quarter in 2011. Enrollment now includes Hispanic students, Creoles and others from the Caribbean, Asians and Eastern Europeans.
How Program is Monitored Students' progress is monitored and recorded on a daily basis by their instructors. Upon reaching proficiency in their current level, instructors will move the student into the next, higher level.
Examples of Program Success A current student at Project Light was illiterate in her own country. She was unable to attend school due to financial constraints on her family. She entered the Project Light program without any English instruction, and could not write in her native language. She has risen to the top of English proficiency offered by Project Light, and is assisting the beginner students. She recently passed her citizen exam, and is now a U.S. citizen.

Project Light offers students access to a new computer lab twice a week, including web-based and software-based language education, basic computer skills development, and job and education focused internet use instruction.

Budget $10,000
Program linked to organizational strategy? No
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Adults
Short Term Success Currently participating students are expanding their skill sets and are better able to assist their children with homework, check on their kids' grades, and connect with their family members abroad, via social media.
Long Term Success We hope to expand the lab hours and provide access/service to more students, as Project Light continues to work on building its capacity and funding.
How Program is Monitored Participating students complete a computer class questionnaire. 
Examples of Program Success

One of the greatest benefits of the computer lab has been to allow students to learn the basics; many have not had the opportunity to sit down at a computer and gain the understanding needed to begin using one.

Program Comments by Organization

While we have been able to begin implementation of the computer lab at a small scale -thanks to local foundation support – we would like to add additional computers so more students can participate and to expand lab hours, which will require further investment and recruitment of competent instructors, to take it to scale.

In addition, we hope to include GED and citizenship classes to further empower our students to become successful and integrated members of our community.

As part of our goals to continue growing Project Light’s programmatic services and reach, we hope to raise the needed funds to expand our Program Coordinators’s hours to a full time position.
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Luz Corcuera
CEO Term Start Sept 2010


Barry University, Miami, Fl., MA, Pastoral Ministry, 2003 
Sn. M. Pores Private University, Lima, Peru, MA, Psychology, 1984 and BA, Psychology, 1980 
Professional Experience:
Program Director, Healthy Start Coalition of Manatee County, Bradenton, Fl., 2003 - present 
Family Clinician, Family Counseling Center, Sarasota, Fl., 2001-2002
Family Clinician, Lifelink Child & Family Services, Bradenton, Fl., 2000-2001
Senior Clinician, Toronto Hospital, Toronto, Canada 1993-1999
Professional/Volunteer Service:
Chair, Project Light Literacy Center Board of Directors, Current
Member, Manatee Educational Television Board of Directors, Current
Member, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Current
Member, Advisory Service Committee- March of Dimes
Member, Sarasota-Manatee Farmworkers Supporters 
Recipient- Unity Award 2011 
Recipient - Cesar Chavez Award, July 2008
Recipient - Who's Who in Tampa Bay, Univision, July 2008
Recipient- Partner Award- Healthy Councils, Inc.- April 2008 
Recipient - Minority Business Person of the Year/Social Services Category, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2007 
Recipient- Manatee Educational Television Partner Award- 2006 
Martin Luther King Jr. Award- 2004 
Full Time Staff 0
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 35
Contractors 1
Staff Retention Rate % N/A
Professional Development No
Management Reports to Board Yes
Organization Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 2
Strategic Plan Adopted Feb 2014
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Former CEOs
Bill Owens Jan 2010 - Sept 2010
Sally Radice Jan 2009 - Dec 2009
Senior Staff
Ms. Rachel Quirk Program Coordinator
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
NonManagement Formal Evaluation N/A
Project Light has various collaborations with the following civic and faith-based entities:
- Manatee County Government - Neighborhood Services
- Manatee County Library System
- Manatee County Housing Authority - Resident Services Department 
- Healthy Start Coalition of Manatee County, Inc.
- Sarasota - Manatee Farmworker Supporters
- Lay Salvatorians
- St. Bernard's Parish
- Our Lady of the Angels
- Church of the Annunciation 
Catholic Relief Award - Leadership in Charity & JusticeDiocese of Venice1998
Project Light Day - Proclamation by Mayor Wayne PostonCity of Bradenton2001
Golden Gavel AwardSarasota Herald Tribune1996
Golden Gavel AwardSarasota Herald Tribune1997
Golden Gavel AwardSarasota Herald Tribune1999
Golden Gavel AwardSarasota Herald Tribune2000
Certificate of AppreciationHealthy Start Coalition of Manatee County2003
Certificate of AppreciationHealthy Start Coalition of Manatee County2005
Finalist - WEDU BE More AwardsWEDU2010
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Leadership Comments by Organization Recruiting and training new volunteer instructors, recruiting new board members, and hiring full time, paid staff are the current challenges faced by Project Light.  We are confident that this is an opportunity to have a realistic plan with short and long term goals.
Board Chair
Board Chair Luz Corcuera
Company Affiliation Healthy Start Manatee
Board Term Sept 2011 to Dec 2014
Board Members
Board Members
Father Tom Bielawa Community Volunteer
Luz Corcuera no affiliation
Diane Draper no affiliation
Ann Griffin no affiliation
Ed Griffin no affiliation
Sally Radice No affiliation
Lisa Ramirez Healthy Start
Rosie Wiley Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 6
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 6
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation No
Board Meeting Attendance % 91
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Board Self-Evaluation No
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Board Making Monetary Contributions 70
Percentage of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Governance Comments by Organization Although Project Light is a relatively small nonprofit organization from a capitalization aspect, it is our intention in 2013 to develop a 5-year Strategic Plan. This would be followed by development of Conflict of Interest Policies, Board Selection Criteria, and various other governance documents.
Financial Info
Fiscal Year 2014
Projected Revenue $36,000.00
Projected Expenses $54,850.00
Spending Policy N/A
Historical Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$29,937$13,600--
Administration Expense$0$0--
Fundraising Expense$0$0--
Payments to Affiliates$0$0--
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.502.64--
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%100%--
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%--
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$0$196,751--
Current Assets$0$34,173--
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$0$0--
Total Net Assets$0----
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $42,451Individuals $35,906--
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountTextbook Sales $2,378 ----
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount0 $0 ----
CEO Compensation
Co-CEO Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets--0%--
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization Project Light operates month to month, working to ensure it has sufficient funds/donations to cover monthly operating costs. If Project Light was free of this funding uncertainty, more effort and resources could be concentrated on developing and offering enhanced/expanded programs to address the broad needs of our student base. These areas would include computer literacy and language instruction, GED test preparation, and U.S. citizenship preparation.
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures for 2006, 2007 & 2008 are taken from IRS Form 990s. With receipts under $25,000, 990-N was filed for 2009 - 2011 & 2013. Compilations for 2013 did not include balance sheet information.  Audits were not provided.  990s were prepared by Treasurer.  Foundation, corporations and congregations are included with individual contributions, as reported in 990s.
Nonprofit Project Light of Manatee, Inc.
Address 1104 14th Street West
Bradenton, FL 34205
Primary Phone 941 745-1659
CEO/Executive Director Luz Corcuera
Board Chair Luz Corcuera
Board Chair Company Affiliation Healthy Start Manatee
Year of Incorporation 1994